Spain changes airport rules to head off bird flu crisis

21st February 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 February 2006, MADRID – As the number of cases of bird flu continues to increase in Europe, health minister Elena Salgado announced a special protocol for planes and airports in Spain.

21 February 2006

MADRID – As the number of cases of bird flu continues to increase in Europe, health minister Elena Salgado announced a special protocol for planes and airports in Spain.

She said a string of new measures would be put in place within two weeks, designed to detect cases of bird flu as early as possible.

"There is no emergency," she insisted, stating that the current outbreak of bird flu in Europe has not so far been spread to humans.

"The risk of a pandemic will be produced when the virus is transmitted to humans and for the moment that hasn't happened. Bird flu is an exclusively animal disease."

Salgado said guidelines would be issued to ensure the detection on board flights of anyone suffering from bird flu. Symptoms of the virus would be reported early, allowing passengers to be treated on arrival in the country and for the authorities to check passengers who come into contact with others suffering the disease.

The minister also pledged leaflets and information would be given to passengers travelling to countries affected by bird flu. The passengers will be told how to avoid contracting the virus.

Salgado said 511 tests of birds in Spain suspected of having the flu have all recorded negative.

However, she said Spain might see cases of birds with the flu arriving from Africa in the next few weeks when the migratory patterns of birds change.

On Tuesday, Germany announced it had a crisis on its hands with more than 100 cases. Italy, Greece, France, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria have all seen the bird flu arrive on their shores. On Monday, the EU voted against compensating farmers whose poultry were affected by the flu.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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